10 French ice breakers to get the conversation started

10 French ice breakers to get the conversation started

by Audrey Sivadier

Updated November 9, 2022

Are you learning French and want to engage in a conversation with a native speaker? Bravo, that’s the right attitude to apply everything you’ve learned! But depending on our character, it is not always easy to approach a new person, especially in a language that is not our own. Here are some ice breakers to help you make the first move in French!

How to start a conversation in French

“Briser la glace” in French

The French expression “briser la glace” comes from the English “ice breaker”. It refers to all the little phrases that allow a person to start a conversation with a stranger. It means that by approaching the other person, you will put an end to an awkward or tense situation (a situation where there was “ice” before).

Finding a common interest in French

Whether you’re on a café terrace, at a friend’s party or in a waiting room, you’ve probably noticed someone you’d like to talk to. But how do you approach him or her without looking ridiculous? You have to find a common interest and ask questions. These days it’s not easy to talk to someone, even at a bus stop, because people are often absorbed in their phones. But you can try these phrases below depending on the situation you are in:

  1. Excusez-moi le wifi fonctionne bien pour vous ? Moi, je n’arrive pas à me connecter. – Excuse me, is the wifi working well for you? I can’t get online. (A phrase that works well in the library for example!)
  1. Il y a beaucoup de monde aujourd’hui, ou c’est moi ? – It’s very busy today, or is it just me? (in transport, in shops…)
  1. J’adore cette chanson ! C’est de qui ? – I love this song! Who is it from? (At a party, or even in a shop!)
  1. Excusez-moi, savez-vous où se trouve… ? – (Pretend you are lost) Excuse me, do you know where is…?

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Ice breakers about the weather in French

This is THE subject that will be discussed with anyone, anytime! It has the advantage of not being too personal, and you rarely disagree with the person you are talking to.

  1. C’est moi ou il commence à faire froid ? – (on a café terrace) Is it me or is it getting cold?
  1. Quelle journée magnifique ! – What a beautiful day!

Talking about the time of day is also an easy way to get a person’s attention:

  1. Excusez-moi, vous avez l’heure ? – Excuse me, do you have the time?

But the disadvantage with this type of question is that you will have to move on to another subject quickly, otherwise, having answered the question, the person will continue on his way!

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French ice breakers about food

If you are eating, or in a supermarket, this will be the easiest way to start a conversation.

  1. C’est délicieux, vous ne trouvez pas ? – (expressing taste) It’s delicious, don’t you think? 
  1. Comment vous cuisinez cet ingrédient ? – (ask for information) How do you cook this ingredient?
  1. Vous achetez souvent bio ? –  (talk about a current topic) Do you often buy organic food?

Phrases to avoid when seducing in French

When you want to seduce someone and you are not sure of yourself, you tend to repeat ready-made phrases. But we forget that the person has probably heard them a thousand times before!

  • Ton père est un voleur : il a pris toutes les étoiles du ciel pour les mettre dans tes yeux. – (the classic) Your father is a thief: he took all the stars in the sky and put them in your eyes.
  • On devrait t’arrêter pour excès de beauté sur la voie publique. – You should be arrested for excessive beauty on the public highway.
  • En temps normal, je suis un très bon nageur, mais là je ne comprends pas, je me noie dans tes yeux. – Normally I’m a very good swimmer, but I don’t understand, I’m drowning in your eyes.
  • J’ai un problème avec mon téléphone : il manque ton numéro. – I have a problem with my phone: your number is missing.

If you’re a gambler, you can try these phrases in a humorous way! But be prepared for rejection, you have been warned!

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Maybe just adopt a dog!

They say that dogs are man’s best friend. This furry creature is THE way to approach unknown people. Everyone wants to pet them, to know their breed… You don’t have to make any effort, your dog does it for you! 

From experience, it also works with a baby, but it requires a lot of involvement for a simple conversation!

So which ice breaker will you start your next Lingoda lesson with?

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